Meetings + Events

The power of gathering people

room space calculator

Find out how many people will fit in your room or what size room you need for your number of attendees.

Step 1
Choose a Room Layout type:

Step 2
Enter one of the following to determine the other:

Room Size:

sq.ft.

Capacity:

NOTE: This is a starting guideline only. Accuracy for your particular event cannot be guaranteed.

look_for_new_issue

Should you give interns a turn?

The benefits of interns

Evaluating the benefits and the challenges of internship programs

by Connie Jeske Crane

Do you have an internship program you want to evaluate—or maybe you’re curious about internships? In Canada’s event space, internship programs can potentially deliver a range of wonderful benefits. But before we talk about those, let’s address the elephant in the room—the legalities and controversy.

In the past decade, internships, rightfully, have received harsh scrutiny. In 2011, US journalist Ross Perlin’s book, Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy, documented problems and triggered a wave of corporate and government policy changes—plus new advocacy groups like the Canadian Intern Association (founded in 2012).

So it’s understandable that event companies might have misgivings. Case in point, while her company has an established program today (generally involving paid three-month internships), Sommer Smith, director of operations with Boom Goes The Drum, a planning agency operating in Calgary and Vancouver, admits she balked when a student first approached her for an internship. “We’re a small business and I wanted to make sure we were providing a really mutual relationship with the intern. So I was a bit apprehensive.” Happily, Smith says she ventured in and that student has been a full-time employee for six years: “She was the reason we started a proper internship program.”

While it takes work, planners like Smith say benefits—for both parties—can make internships worthwhile. For more insight, we talked to Smith and Grail Noble, founder and CEO of Toronto’s Yellow House Events:

POTENTIAL BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS
Internships can give students valuable hands-on training and fulfill requirements of their academic programs. Internships also, says Smith, give students a good chance
to test the water. “A lot of people love the idea of events, but sometimes when they get into it, it’s not the right fit. That’s an important thing to learn too.”

Additionally, as touched on, sometimes interns can snag full-time employment. Noble says Yellow House has a robust internship program and estimates she’s hired on at least half of her interns.

POTENTIAL BENEFITS FOR COMPANIES
Much more than a job interview, internships let employers see a person’s skills play out, says Noble. “It’s such a great way to know if someone is going to be a great fit or not.”

For everyday operations, interns can lend valuable assistance with things like research and event staffing, adds Noble. And if you have employees moving into management positions, get them involved hiring and overseeing interns, she says. “It gives them such great training.”

Smith also loves the fresh ideas, technical skills and insights interns bring. In one case, she says, an intern asked permission to use Boom Goes the Drum as the focus of a school project. “We ended up getting some really great value-adds, including a brand audit.”

Finally, whether interns stay or go, quality connections can result. “I’ve had interns,” says Noble, “who’ve gone on to work at big jobs, reach back out to me a few years later to say ‘Thank you so much, I’ve realized now what a great opportunity I had and how much I learned.’ It feels really good to be able to help young people learn.”

MAKING IT WORK

HAVE A DEFINED STRUCTURE
Formats vary, but good internships have clear goals, some remuneration and, generally, academic partners. Noble says Yellow House works with post-grad programs. “Our interns come from a program where they’re in school, and they’re getting a credit for their activity with us. We also give them an honorarium.”

ENGAGE DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES
For event companies, engaging interns across various academic programs—communications and PR, hospitality, entertainment, sports marketing, performing arts—adds energy, says Smith.

PROVIDE SOLID LEARNING
Don’t waste interns’ time on coffee runs and filing. At Yellow House, Noble says interns are engaged team members, participating in meetings, events and even company retreats.

DEDICATE A STAFF MEMBER TO GIVE OVERSIGHT AND FEEDBACK TO INTERNS
“This is probably one of the first times they’re going to get professional feedback in their career,” says Smith.

INTERNSHIP & THE LAW
Every Canadian province has its own employment standards, legislation and regulations applying 
to interns.
    •    In many provinces, unpaid internships are illegal— unless they’re part of a formal education program. 

    •    Canada’s federal government plans to introduce new federal standards guaranteeing interns (unless they’re in a formal education program) minimum wage. 


FOR MORE NEWS AND INFORMATION:

Canadian Intern Association 
internassociation.ca

Canadian Intern Rights Guide 
internassociation.ca/guide

Ross Perlin’s website 
rossperlin.com/intern-nation 


Source: The Canadian Intern Association

other articles in this section

Feeding the Future

Milestone reflections

Virtual Holiday Party Ideas

Case Study: Canadian Event Industry Awards

Stress Busters

Case Study: 100-person virtual mentoring event

The Power of Story

Event spotlight: ConferenceDirect meets at Caesars Forum Las Vegas

By the Numbers: October 2020 Edition

A Whole New [Virtual] World

Level Up

The Time is Now

Grab the Mic, Grow Your Business

Should you give interns a turn?

Up for Interpretation

Balancing Act

Back to Business: Insights from the MTCC

Back to Business: Insights from byPeterandPauls Hospitality Group

Back to Business: Insights from Industry Associations

Hands Off

Must-haves for the New Reality

Back to Business: Insights from White Oaks Resort & Spa

Gotta Get It: Golf Edition

The Art of Communication

Back to Business: Insights from Casa Loma Escape Series

The Ignite Guide to Masks

Parting thoughts

Back to Business: Insights from JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka

The new reality for... Speakers

The new reality for... Caterers

Fight Right

The new reality for... Team Building

Virtual Sponsorship How-To

The new reality for... Hotels

CanSPEP Connext Conference Kit

The new reality for... DMCs

How to turn delegates into social media brand ambassadors

The new reality for… CONVENTION CENTRES

Job Hunting Today

Your Event Contract Questions Answered

The New Reality for… RESORTS

Hack Away

Beyond Talking Heads

Keeping Connected

Be a Part of the Solution

Time Wise

One Big Virtual Reunion

There's No 'i'solation in Team

New Direction in a Time of Need

Financial Smarts

On the Bright Side

Talk to Me

Food Forward

The Value of Employee Sustainability

All the Right Moves

The Real Cost of RFPs

Valuable Video

Meetings Forecast 2020

RFP Writing 101

Epic Flight

Events that Matter

Trade Show Secrets

Taking Good Care

Oh Canada

Canadian Teambuilding

The Dilemma

We’re All in This Together

Trend Update

Vision Quest

Turn Off that Phone!

Get Into WEC 2019

No Place Like Home

Get into the Tourney

Eating Cleaner

Marriott’s Bonvoy Launches

On the Quiet Side

Getting to Know You

Lifelong Learning

Dynamic Icebreakers

New Year, New You

The Next Step

Meeting Trends 2019

Dialled In

MPAHT Signs The Code

Holographic Magic

Light Touches

Screening Room

Attendee Survival Guide

Oh Canada!

Supporting Roles

Breaking Down the Barriers

Tour Guides

Happiness Matters

Deals on Meals

You need a ‘Workation’

Pop-Up Events

Green Event Trends

Risky Business

Tee Time!

On the Quiet Side